Randi Brookman Harris: Anatomy of a New York Times Magazine cover


I’m enamored by my friend Randi Brookman Harris‘s work, she’s a prop stylist but also one of my favorite commercial artists working today. We have this up in our living room and I follow along closely with what she’s working on, seeing and living on Instagram. She’s definitely one of my favorite artists and I’m so happy to be pals with her too.

Sometimes the most complicated and well executed art looks the simplest at first glance. Here’s more info on Randi’s amazing work (above) that’s nominated for cover of the year by the Society of Publication Designers. I sure hope it wins.

Last summer, Randi got a call about styling the cover for The New York Times Magazine alongside her friend and frequent collaborator, photographer Johnny Miller. The cover story was about activists working to give women access to abortion pills at home. The Design Director, Gail Bichler, wanted to evoke that emotional feeling of receiving a package in the mail when readers opened up the Sunday paper with the magazine at its core.

 “In order to protect the actual packages of pills from being recognized and confiscated in international mail, I wasn’t allowed to see what they looked like. I searched out multitudes of envelopes and mailers: every size, color, and type available. I had Indian postmarks made into rubber stamps. I had a single pill blister-pack custom made on a vacu-form machine to spec — (the image of which ended up illustrating another story).

The deadline was also the thing, of course, and it had to be shot after-hours in Johnny’s studio since we were both booked on other jobs the day we had to shoot it. We were shooting till late. Snacks were purchased at the Duane Reade well past midnight: Bananas, Doritos, Twix & Twizzlers fueled variations. I dirtied the envelopes more, deepened creases, stamped and restamped the postmarks, smoothed out wrinkles…”

I love hearing the story behind the art work and Randi always has a good one.